Friday, May 5, 2017


The saga continues... unmercifully.

Last night after 5:00, as in, after it's to late to do anything about it, I get a reminder call from the urologist's office reminding me of Friday's appointment and to bring the latest KUV x-ray. Wait! What x-ray? Why didn't I know about this? And why, if you're going to "remind" me about it, don't you make this call a day earlier? Somebody else called to confirm the date and time a couple days earlier, after all.

OK, well, I can hit the drop-in radiology place they sent me to last time, early in the morning to maybe cut down on the wait, and bring the disc along with me to my afternoon appointment.

Simple, right?

Yeah, no. Not so much.

I walk in a few minutes after 8AM, and the check-in person searched her computer records. "I don't have any orders for you. Go away." That's not a direct quote, that last sentence, but it's the gist.

I called the urologist's office, left voicemail. Half an hour later, repeat. A little less politely. Fifteen minutes later, call the front desk appointment line, get an actual human. Arrange - I thought - to get the orders faxed over.

Mission accomplished? Of course not. I get put on hold several times while she has to check a few other details with the staff. Did I take my antibiotic pills today and yesterday? No, I took them back when they were prescribed, 1xday for 3 days, per label. Oh, said label also happened to refer to my "colonoscopy", but who's counting? More consultation. OK, they can deal with my having taken them last week, no biggie.  Another discussion ensued, same put-on-hold, come-back process, regarding whether I could get the x-ray done on time. I asked them flat out, citing the process of waiting an hour and a half, getting the x-ray, waiting 10 minutes for the disc, bringing the disc to my appointment this afternoon, if there was anything in that process which would preclude my making my appointment this afternoon? Mmmmm... no, that would be fine.

I left again, since I made it home during the waiting time, back to the radiology office. Still no orders received. Sit and wait for them to show up. 20 minutes later, my Minnesota Nice has evaporated and paranoia sets in. I get back into the line for attention at the check-in desk, and verify that the number highlighted on the business card she handed me this morning, which I passed on to the urologist's office, was the right one.

It wasn't. Naturally.

I called the urologist back from inside my car for privacy, giving them the new number. I decided to wait in my car a couple minutes, needing to fight my way back to some semblance of calm. More than a few f-bombs, or near bombs ("What the effing...?" etc.) had been dropped by this time. Most of the causes for them had nothing to do with the radiology folks. After another wait in the check-in line, I was informed that the orders had shown up just as I was walking out the door to call with the right fax number. Of course.

So there's the waiting, long enough for the super duper AC in the waiting room to make me wish I'd brought a jacket. On a day forecast to top out at 105 degrees, that hadn't exactly been a consideration when I left the house.  (Note: it reached 108.) Then there's the metal-free trousers and backless gown to change into for the x-ray, something which had been skipped last time I was there. They came in one-size-fits-other-folks, so I can't bring my arms all the way forward to properly hold the pants up where they don't make it past the hips. Oh well, who needs modesty? After changing back into civvies, another little wait in the check-in line to start the copying-of-the-disc wait. In other words, everything went pretty much exactly as expected.

Precisely as I'm sitting back in the car, noting that the earlier shade has moved elsewhere and the car is now stultifying, my phone rings. Seeing a too-familiar number, I answer it with the announcement that I have disc in hand and am leaving as we speak. I get a hesitation, then am asked to hold for a minute. Then she comes back and announces that my appointment has been changed to Monday afternoon because there will not be time for the technician to make his report before 3:30. The disc isn't enough? No. You couldn't have mentioned this earlier? Apparently not, despite the previous long consultation pauses before confirming that I could actually make my appointment. He can't read the films himself? He did before the lithotripsy, or at least said that he did. Again, apparently not.

Remember, all this back and forth has been aggravating the spot where the stent decided to poke into my bladder last Tuesday after a few minutes light yard work. It has the entirely predictable effect of continuing to shorten my temper. It doesn't help that Samantha, my caller/contact at the urologist's office, has taken this time to start getting defensive about how all this is my fault, not a speck of theirs. I asked how I was to know this was needed when all 13 pages of paperwork, still stapled tidily together, say absolutely zilch about this x-ray, and the prescription doesn't give a more specific timing of  which days to take the pills and even references a treatment I'm not getting. I even refer to an earlier phone conversation where I ask them to verify my assumption that I need to stay out of the pool until everything's over, during which I'm assured that info was already in my papers because it always is - until she checked their copy of my orders and... surprise! It's not there.

I was getting ready to unload a bit more, but decided to take a deep breath instead, flatly say I'll see them Monday, and hang up.

It's so-o-o-o past time to head home and take a percoset.

While I'm waiting for it to kick in, I get another call from Samantha. They have decided now that they do, in fact, want me to take another 3-day cycle of antibiotics, starting with Sunday. I inform her I'm not able to drive any more today, and they'll have to call it in to my pharmacy for me to pick up tomorrow.  (I purposefully neglect to ask if this also means thaat the x-ray I just had done would also be obsolete by Monday, since it's supposed to be exactly one or two days ahead of the appointment. Enough boat rocking, already!)

In the process, I explain about how the pain has been driving my lack of patience, and dear old Samantha decided I need to leave a message about what the pain is like with my doc's medical assistant, the same one who hasn't been able to return my first two phone calls. I ask Samantha what's the point, since they won't/can't do anything about the stent until Monday now, anyway? She suggests they can maybe tell me if the pain is normal or not, and transfers me back. I duly leave a message, along with, yet again, my callback number.

You all just know I'm holding my breath. Right?

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